When it comes down to it, we all want the same things.
We want to feel safe, to trust that the world is what it seems and that there is at least some predictability or sense to what happens in it.
We want to feel seen, to know that we matter and that even once we’re gone, we will continue to leave some sort of legacy.
We want to be accepted, to be loved and welcomed as we are.
And we want to be appreciated, our gifts and contributions recognized and valued.
Of course, there are both positive and negative ways that we seek to meet these needs.
Those seeking safety may strive to control every outcome, even extending to trying to control those around them. A need to be seen can lead to negative attention-seeking behaviors that cause harm even while meeting the requirement. Taken too far, a drive for acceptance twists into people-pleasing, morphing into a form that others want. And a need for appreciation can slide into narcissism, where recognition is demanded no matter the cost.
We can have those same needs met in positive and healthy ways. A need for safety comes not from trying to control outcomes, but in building trust in yourself to meet those outcomes, no matter what they may be. The desire to be seen can be met from actively working to spread some lasting change in the world so that you can see your ripple on the planet. A need for acceptance comes from surrounding yourself with the right people or, if that fails, the right furry companion. And the best appreciation comes not from somebody saying “thank you,” but from within when you give from a place of generosity and selflessness.